An Evening With Hadley Fraser – VIDEOS

Finally, my videos from Hadley’s gig are working!!!

Here we go: –

Craig Mather

1st Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgtpLWZsa5g&feature=plcp

2nd Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJz7JCTGcWA&feature=plcp

“Jenny Was A Friend of Mine” by the Killers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BSpmLtUNcE&feature=plcp

Rosalie Craig

Baker Baker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfcGRnu7SOM&feature=plcp

Hadley Fraser

Take Me Away (Scott Alan) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-8qKBSpHw4&feature=plcp

UnBound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwIygOI7auo&feature=plcp

Heading West http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqSEVMtOqxw&feature=plcp

Coming Around http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p_3yu-pCwA&feature=plcp

Furious Ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOytjLzAhj0&feature=plcp

Big Love’s Small http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10y3nd2bURU&feature=plcp

How Many Times (LOVE THIS!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clTFqHG8tbw&feature=plcp

Again (Scott Alan – this song is so special to me, hearing it sang live made me cry!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXl-T96V_aY&feature=plcp

Herne and the Red Kite (with Rosalie Craighttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEF6rDb3DTI&feature=plcp

Africa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NwYy66UKtM&feature=plcp

Driftwood (with Ramin Karimloo – so privileged to witness this!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggXQoySZMW0&feature=plcp

Hope you all enjoy the videos – can’t wait for the next one!

Signing off

(A very happy!) Blue Eyed Girl

The Best Day! – Part Two: An Evening With Hadley Fraser

So after leaving the Barricades – and meeting up with the super fabulous Rachel, Ali, Rich and Helen – I headed to the new St James Theatre in Victoria for An Evening With Hadley Fraser.

Now anyone who knows me knows how much love I have for Hadley as both an actor and as an artist. I first came across his talent when I saw him as Javert back on my first visit to Les Miserables in January 2012, and ever since, have grown to absolutely adore his music too.

There was one point where I was going to have to miss this gig, as Hadley had only announced a gig for the Sunday night at first. As a school teacher, I was due to return to work first thing on Monday morning, so there was no way I would be able to go – and I was extremely upset about this! However, due to overwhelming demand, he announced additional dates – and I couldn’t get tickets fast enough!

Back to the gig – and first a massive shout out to everyone at the St James Theatre. This new venue is a brilliant find, and all the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming! If you get a chance to go down for any performance there, you shouldn’t miss it! I will definitely be going back soon!

To the gig!

In the Studio part of the venue, we were presented with a perfect setting for what was sure to be an amazing show!

The show started with the sensational Craig Mather playing some of his own original material. Craig is such a talent when he performs on stage in Les Miserables – and I am pleased to report that it looks like his solo songs are just as good, maybe even better! It was a pleasure to witness his performance of what, I hope very very soon, is going to make a stunning album.
Alongside his original material, he also did a cover of “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” by the Killers – which was brilliant!
Then, the main event – Mr Hadley Fraser!
You will have to forgive me if the rest of the review seems overly soppy – I just want you all to feel the way I did about what was just a sensational evening. I have seen Hadley perform live once before, but this gig was beyond anything I could have expected.
Every single song for me was absolute perfection. A mix of old, new and covers made for the perfect musical evening. Hadley took us on a tour of his own material, some which had been updated and tweaked by both himself and the super talented Tom Deering, who was on piano for the evening. He performed several covers – including Toto’s “Africa” – yes you heard that right, as well as the sensational “River Take Me” by Darrell Scott (If you don’t know this name – go and look it up – the man is a genius!)
Some personal highlights for me included a stunning version of “Furious Ball” (very Ravel/Debussy), Herne and the Red Kite (which featured the stunning vocals of Rosalie Craig), and a personal favourite “How Many Times“, but this was only just the start of the perfection that I heard.

Speaking of Rosalie Craig – who loooked stunning by the way, we were privileged to learn that Rosalie will be performing at the National Theatre next year in a play by Tori Amos! Rosalie also performed a Tori Amos song – just showing how super talented she is! Can’t wait to see her at the National next year!
Back to Hadley . . .
Towards the end of the evening, Hadley stood alone on stage and treated us to some solo numbers without the support of his band – the sign of a truly magnificent artist! Two of these songs were ones that were written by the truly brilliant Scott Alan (Again, go and look him up if you don’t know the name!) After Hadley masterfully sang “Take Me Away“, he announced that he would then be singing another Scott Alan song, “Again” – and my heart skipped a beat!
Again” is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and the fact that I would be present when Hadley sang it live was one of the most special moments in my entire life. He performs that song with such emotion and grace, that it broke my heart and I just burst into tears! Such a special moment for me!
When I thought it couldn’t get any better, Hadley lifted the roof off the venue, when he summoned Ramin Karimloo – who had been watching the show from the bar all night – to join him on stage! Could I believe my eyes – was I about to witness a one night only Sheytoons reunion? YES I WAS! To see two of my favourite artists together on that stage, performing “Driftwood“, and most importantly having so much fun, was just another special moment for me that I was so honoured to witness.
After an encore, and some heckling from Ramin and Craig (which prompted Tom Deering to suggest a brief Les Mis reunion!), Hadley brought the gig to a close on a very personal note with a song – which sadly I don’t know the name of, that meant so much to him – he had to stop as he was getting teary and compose himself before he could finish the song. For me, a moment like this, which bought tears to everyone’s eyes, just shows what kind of man Hadley is – kind, humble and such a good soul.
This was one of the best evenings I have ever had the honour and privilege to experience.
What I continue to admire most about Hadley is that I don’t think he knows how talented he is. He is such a special soul, with an amazing gift for songwriting and performing, and I can say, hand on heart, one of the kindest, sweetest guys I have ever had the privilege to meet. To say I wish him all the success in the world is an understatement – but he doesn’t need it! His music and wonderful spirit speaks for itself.
I always look awful when I have my photo taken with Hadley – but you know what? Just looking at this picture makes me smile and remember that night, that music, and that man with such amazingly beautiful memories. I can only pray that I have the chance to experience another performance like this very soon.
Thanks for reading
Signing off
Blue Eyed Girl
(All photos copyright to O.Edmonds)

The Best Day! – Part One: Les Miserables

At the end of a very hectic few weeks, and an immense half term – which included visits to see the UK Tour productions of Sister Act and Blood Brothers – the day arrived which had the potential to be TOTALLY EPIC!

Not only would I be seeing the stunning Hadley Fraser at his “An Evening With . . . ” gig, but I would also be paying a visit to see the wonderful cast of Les Miserables at Queens Theatre – now you see why I said this would be EPIC!

I started a day with a wonder round Covent Garden – one of my many London “happy places” (when I have some money!) and was able to pay a visit to the very talented Sonia, who is a Jewellery maker who makes all her own pieces to make some additions to my collection!

From there, I headed to the Barricades!!!

Queens Theatre, London (October 2012)
Now as you all know from previous posts, I have so much love for this show – and especially for the new cast, who continue to play to packed houses and earn standing ovations every night. I was able to pay this visit with a very dear, and one of my closest friends, the divine Selena – who was seeing this cast for the first time.
(From top: Les Miserables London cast 2012, Middle: Geronimo Rauch and Tam Mutu, Bottom: Sierra Boggess) All copyrighted to Queens Theatre, London
Needless to say, the cast absolutely smashed it – and Selena was greatly impressed. Geronimo Rauch continues to break my heart in the role of Jean Valjean, and his Bring Him Home, yet again, bought me to tears. His continuing superb dynamic with Tam Mutu (Javert), especially during the joint scenes remains one of my definite show highlights.
Tam also continues to smash “Stars” out of the theatre – and his performance remains one of my favourite musical performances EVER! He is so strong in the role – I still can’t believe I have only come across his amazing talent this year. Sierra Boggess also continues to excel in the role of Fantine, ahead of her move to Phantom Broadway in January – I just hope she doesn’t leave it too long to return to the West End.
The entire cast continues to excel too! Special mentions must go to Jonny Purchase, who was on for Craig Mather as Marius and showed a great all-round improvement since I saw him in August. Also a special shout for Cameron Bleakley as Thenardier – definitely one of the unrecognised superstars of the show, as is the genius Adam Linstead, who despite seeming to pop up everywhere in the show – steals every scene he is in as the lovable drunk Grantaire!
Although I got to say hi to everyone at Stage Door afterwards – I didn’t manage any pictures due to the pouring rain! Never mind – will be getting some on my next visit in January!
This was only part one of what turned out to be one of my best days ever – check out the next post for my review of An Evening With Hadley Fraser!
Signing off,
Blue Eyed Girl

Sister Act – 19th October 2012

So last night, I took my lovely mom and my 83 year old Nan to see the Sister Act UK Tour at our local theatre.

Now, I was very blessed to see the show before when the original production was at the London Palladium – and Whoopi Goldberg was playing Mother Superior, but as this was my Nan’s favourite movie, it seemed too good of a chance to miss to return to the story of Deloris Van Cartier in all its’ glitz and glamour.

And I am glad to say that the show has lost none of its magic!

I knew when I sat down that the blocking and layout was going to be different due to the smaller nature of local theatres, but actually, the similarities with the original London production were quite noticeable (in a good way!) as I was able to recognise several of the sets.

The musical numbers were executed with such precision, with a massive added touch of glitz and glamour – and that was just Deloris’ opening outfit! All of the songs were uplifting, catchy and suited the story down to the ground – despite not being the ones from the original film! “Take Me to Heaven” and “Fabulous Baby” are two of many floorfillers that if you see this show, I guarantee you will be singing for weeks!!

But for all of these wonderful features, it is the cast that made this show into the best night out I have had in a while!

I must start at the top and congratulate the superbly talented Cynthia Erivo, who played Deloris. This lady has the most stunning voice – and has the comic timing to match. She brings you into the story from the moment she hits the first note of “Take Me to Heaven” and carries you through her rollercoaster ride all the way to her finale appearance in the silver gown with white fox fur that makes her look like a million dollars! There are times when you would be unsure as to whether it was Cynthia or Whoopi herself on stage – yes, she is THAT good! I am certain there are big things to come from this lady – it would be a crime against musical theatre if there weren’t!

Cynthia was backed up by a magnificent cast, who – if I mentioned them all by name, I would be here till Christmas – but I must give some special shoutouts!

Edward Baruwa – who played Eddie Souther – was such a loveable character and really got the audience to care about the antics of “Sweaty Eddie”! His solo number – ” I Could Be That Guy” brought the house down and his final reunion with Deloris ws one of the sweetest moments of the night. Another fantastic performance – although I feel like a bad Les Mis fan as I have only just found out he has also previously played Enjorlas at Queens! I intend to rectify this by finding a cast recording featuring Edward ASAP!!

I had been truly blessed to hear the beautiful voice of Julie Atherton before I arrived at Sister Act, as she was one of the performers on The In Between Concept album (which I am a HUGE fan of!) But in the role of Sister Mary Robert, she was truly outstanding! Her performance of “The Life I Never Led” was a true heartbreaker for everyone in the audience, who gave this phenomenal actress the ovation she deserved!

Finally – Gavin Alex, Tyrone Huntley and Daniel Stockton – who play Curtis Jackson’s sidekicks Pablo, TJ and Joey  – were absolutely HILARIOUS! Every scene they were in brought a brilliant response from the audience and when you saw them , you couldn’t help but smile. Their inclusion in “When I Find My Baby” was genius – but their group song “Lady in the Long Black Dress” was totally EPIC – I couldn’t stop laughing!

As you can see, this is a feel good, fun, uplifting and joyous night out! Sadly the UK Tour is coming to an end, but all I can say is – if we all raise our voices and spread the love around, maybe – just maybe, we will be able to bless this fabulous show enough for it to make a return visit to local theatres very soon!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl x x x

What Am I Looking Forward To in the Theatre World?

I am all about the positives of looking ahead to brighter things, and never is that more relevant than in the Theatre World for 2013.

There are so many new productions that are due to hit London in 2013 that I am beyond excited to see, I thought I would share some of them with you!

I guess we should start with ONCE

This musical has had so much success on Broadway and pretty much won every award going! Now, on top of that success, the show will transfer to London in March 2013. The potential that this show has is phenomenal and it should go down as one of the best shows ever to hit the West End!

If you don ‘t know anything about this show, take a look at the following clip from the Broadway production, and follow @TheOnceMusical for all the updates!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ehVXwFMQqs

Next up – and on a totally different wavelength to ONCE –The Book of Mormon!

This one first came to my attention thanks to Mr Scott Garnham. I knew it was a comedy – but when I delved a little deeper, I discovered it was another Broadway smash hit and was also written by the team who wrote South Park! (Therefore, it would not be one for the easily offended!)

I saw this performance by the cast at the 2012 Tony Awards – and I couldn’t stop laughing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekwiXQDdhSk

Another must see for me! It opens in February 2013.

Yet another must see – and thanks to @vickiclark18, @kerrien_270811, @MoniqueHennessey and @clairetrillwood is FINDING NEVERLAND, starring the ridiculously talented pairing of Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig. This production is currently running in Leicester to rave reviews, and will be heading to the West End very soon!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEpGdlEqQf4

Special mention must also go to CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY which opens at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 2013, starring Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka. This should be amazing!

FINALLY! 2013 will also bring my favourite musical of ALL TIME – The Phantom of the Opera, to my home town and I can’t wait! I have seen the show 3 times in Manchester this year, but there is something even more special about having a show with the history and legacy of Phantom come to your home town! Now starring @EarlCarpenter as the Phantom, alongside the continuing brilliance of @katie1hall and @SimonBailey1210 as Christine and Raoul, I have no doubt it will go down a storm! If you haven’t seen it, have a look at this clip and I dare you not to be enthralled!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ll37MbcyMg

These are just some of many productions I am looking forward to seeing in 2013 and I hope I may have given you some new shows to look at too!

Signing off . . .

Blue Eyed Girl x x x

Jesus Christ SuperStar – October 2012

So, after a summer of fun in London, I had to wait over a month and a half for my next theatre fix – and what a fix it was!

I, as many of you, was hooked to ITV1’s SUPERSTAR which aired back in July – where the Lord, Andrew Lloyd Webber searched for his new leading man for an upcoming and updated version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

I bought my ticket for the tour quite a while before the final winner – Ben Forster – was announced, and I have to admit, I was kind of hoping I would get to see the brilliant Alex Gaumond in the role, as I am a HUGE fan of his!

However, when the series ended and Ben was crowned the winner, I was really excited for the Tour to roll around. (I should also point out at this point that I had NEVER seen Jesus Christ Superstar EVER – be it on film or on stage, so this also added to my excitement!)

As October rolled around, the excitement continued to grow! Several friends had been to see the tour open in London and raved about how good the production was. Well, needless to say, as the 4th October arrived, I was as excited as child the night before Christmas!

My seats were brilliant – and alot better than I expected – as I was on the tiered seating next to the stage and had a perfect view! As the show opened, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage!

I was totally BLOWN AWAY by the whole show! I know many people were unsure of the modern twist but I thought it suited the plot down to the ground. The staging was so cleverly done yet also so simple – the steps and the video screen made sure that nothing was taking away from some stunning performances.

Ben Forster as Jesus was utterly sensational! I totally bought into every word and the way he responded to all of the other lead characters was brilliant. His version of Gethsemane was absolutely spine-chilling – and I was more than happy to join the rest of the Birmingham NIA in giving him the ovation he deserved.

Melanie C was one of the biggest surprises of the night – in a good way! I knew she had previous experience in the theatre but I wasn’t sure how she would fit into such a multi-talented cast. But again, as with Ben, she was stunning. She got a huge ovation for her version of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and her performance of “Can We Start Again Please?” had me in floods of tears!

Chris Moyles as King Herod. There is only one word I can use to describe him – GENIUS! What an inspired piece of casting this was! Yes, he is only on stage for 5 minutes maximum and is the campest part of the show – but Chris Moyles performs like his life depended on it! His superb comedy is a welcome break from all the drama that Act 2 brings! Well done Chris!

Finally, Tim Minchin as Judas – BEYOND PHENOMENAL! He was absolutely mesmerising and as soon as he stepped on stage at the start of the show – I couldn’t take my eyes off him! Even when he was sitting on top of the stage during parts of Act One when he wasn’t directly involved in the plot, my eye was immeadiately drawn to him!

Tim excels himself in Act 2 especially – with the Judas kiss and his suicide being totally edge of the seat viewing! My heart was beating so fast in the build up to his suicide – I was so nervous about what he was going to do! (I will say, the way it is done in this production is so shocking, but so WOW at the same time!) I am so glad to he got his groove thing on for “Superstar” though – it was definitely deserved!

Tim Minchin – the only man alive that can make ginger dreadlocks and guyliner attractive!

A massive salute must also go to the Ensemble, including Superstar Alumni Tim Prottey Jones and Jeff Anderson (who were so lovely and wonderful at Stage Door afterwards too!) They work so hard throughout the show – running around, jumping, dancing, singing, flipping off things – THE WORKS! They bring so much to the show – a massive salute to you all!

If you hadn’t guessed already – I just ADORED this show from top to bottom – and I can’t recommend it enough if you get a chance to see it before the tour ends! (If not, the DVD filmed in Birmingham is out in November 😀 )

One final STAGEY thing – as we say on Twitter – I had the absolute honour of meeting the legend that is Laurence Connor post show.

If you don’t know who he is – well, if you have seen the Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary performances, they are just some of his wonderful directorial work! But, I can honestly say, one of the most kind and giving people I have ever met at a Stage Door. Long may his success continue!

Thanks for reading all – and as always, all comments welcomed!

Signing off for now,

Blue Eyed Girl x x x